In order to provide relief to people battling severe winter, Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday sanctioned an added Rs 9.65 crore for blanket distribution in 44 districts. State relief commissioner G S Priyadarshi said that blankets worth Rs 2.89 lakh have already been distributed so far.
The government has also provided bonfire facilities at about 12,000 places and has opened 700 shelter homes for the homeless to take shelter during freezing nights. Priyadarshi said the state government has allocated Rs 19.25 crore for distribution of blankets, of which Rs 8 crore was later provided for this purpose.
Several parts of Uttar Pradesh and the rest of north India has been reeling under intense cold from the past few days due to severe cold wave conditions. The harsh weather is forcing the poor and homeless people to flock to night shelters. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh may be affected by the cold wave for the next couple of days.
Severe cold cold conditions coupled with fog have thrown normal life out of gear in most parts of Punjab and Haryana on Saturday with many places recording minimum temperatures five to seven notches below normal. Hisar was the coldest place in the two states with the minimum settling at 0.2 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal limits, the meteorological department said here.
The minimum temperatures at Hisar (0.2), Narnaul (0.5), Rohtak (1.8), Karnal (1.5), Sirsa (2), Bathinda (2.3) and Bhiwani (3.9) were even lower than Shimla which registered a low of 4 degrees Celsius. Most places in Haryana and Punjab witnessed fog with visibility reducing to 600 metres, disrupting air, rail and road traffic in the region.
In a fog-related accident, two people died and around 12 were injured in a pile-up of 15 vehicles at Delhi-Jaipur highway in Rewari district of Haryana, police said. Due to cold conditions, one unidentified person died in Chandigarh on Friday night, they said.